A friend from (my now former) work invited me to visit her family’s vacation camp in the Adirondacks, so it was the perfect excuse to take a few days away to test out the van, make sure it was road-worthy on a longer trip, and relax!
I drove north from Delaware where I’d been visiting my family, and made a pit stop in Pennsylvania for lunch and to walk through my college campus. ‘Berg friends: Parma Pizza is still delicious. The route north from Allentown past Scranto and Utica was full of cute small towns, rolling hills, hay bales, and areas of zero cell service. I got through almost a whole audiobook which was a nice bonus.
I rolled into the large Adirondack Park, which was the first large tract of state preserved forest/wilderness area of its kind, and unique for how much of the regulated land is privately owned. It felt like around every corner was a new, stunning lake view.
My friend Shea’s family has been staying in the area for generations and graciously let me stay for a few days and showed me around. We kayaked on the almost empty Fourth Lake between rain storms, I went on my first jet ski ride (terrifying but fun), did some quick hikes through fern-filled forests and up a nearby hill, and I overloaded on sugar between doughnuts and gelato in Inlet and Old Forge. This part of the area was relaxed and relatively quiet compared to the only other part of the Adirondacks I’d previously visited- sorry Lake George, you’ve been outdone (we passed through a few years ago and I may have labeled tourists there ‘garbage people’ because so many wandered into traffic without looking or caring. Sorry, tourists, you aren’t garbage people, some of you definitely do garbage things though. I stand firm on this.).
On my way out of town I stayed a night by Lake Durant, which was peaceful and looks like a great fishing spot, and toured The Sagamore Great Camp, which was once owned by the Durant railroad family and later the Vanderbilts. Wish I’d had longer to linger and go on some of the trails there, but got some good background on the history of how the Adirondacks were settled before heading south.
On my way home I spent a night camping in the Catskills near the town of Phoenicia, where I’d also visited years ago on another road trip with a friend. The cool air, many deer, and cicada sounds made for a pleasant stay. People were friendly and I chatted with several including a man who has been traveling cross country for several years and gave me some tips (main take aways from him- stay with friends til they kick you out, and family 2 days max, and listen to local stations even if all you can find is religious or country), and a group of local teachers either just retired or close to it who were very encouraging of my escape.
Passed an hour wandering through Woodstock, which is full of hippie folks and concert-related memorabilia despite not actually being where the show was. Had a great vibe, good coffee, and cool stones in the square.
Took 95 south for a few hours, and news flash: most aggressive and unsafe drivers were all around NYC/NJ. Stinkiest places on this trip were industrial areas of NJ on the highway, and farmland of southern PA (and myself at times since my current deodorant seems unusually ineffective after a few hours… sorry everyone around me).
Stopped off on the way home at a nice brewery in Bel Air, MD where there was an adorable puppy which overshadowed pretty much everything and everyone else in the place. All in all a good warm up trip full of places I want to check out more when I am actually free.